Tuesday 20 August 2019

'There’s anxiety in my stomach every day wondering when will it happen again' - mother and election candidate on facing homelessness twice

Carly Bailey is running for the Social Democrats on the Housing and Rental Crisis issue. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
Carly Bailey is running for the Social Democrats on the Housing and Rental Crisis issue. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

MOTHER and local political candidate Carly Bailey has faced homelessness twice with her young family and she still worries about the future due to the ongoing rental crisis.

Ms Bailey, 38, along with her husband Brian, 44, said she lost the family home to a vulture fund in 2013.

The former office worker was able to find a €1,200 rental three-bed home in Firhouse, Dublin, where the couple and their two children, her seven-year-old son, who has autism, and their daughter, nine, were happy.

Ms Bailey gained a place on a political science and legal degree on the Trinity Access Programme and she started her political life, which has led her to stand as a local election candidate for Rathfarnham and Templeogue in Dublin.

Carly Bailey is running for the Social Democrats on the Housing and Rental Crisis issue. Friday 17 May 2019. Photo: Douglas O’Connor.
Carly Bailey is running for the Social Democrats on the Housing and Rental Crisis issue. Friday 17 May 2019. Photo: Douglas O’Connor.

But after almost five years, again, the family’s housing situation became unstable when the landlord gave them notice last year.

“Because we had lost the previous home, we were on the floor,” Ms Bailey said.

“It’s hard to convey. It took us a long time to get back on our feet again, even from a mental health perspective.

“Psychologically it was very difficult. My husband, who also cares for our son, was also back in education.

“We were trying to make sure nothing like that would ever happen to us again, as our kids were only babies the first time.

“This time the kids were in school in the area. We were able to walk or cycle to school, we had friends on the road, I was doing community work, I had a garden I put effort into.

“We got the letter from the landlord in February last year. They wanted to move a relative in.

"In our case being evicted due to a family member moving in wasn't bogus, as the family member did move in," but she added that she realised that reason was often bogus for others.

Ms Bailey and her husband had from February until the start of June to find a new home but despite repeated attempts, they could find nowhere.

They asked to stay until the children finished school but they weren't afforded that option.

“My little boy is on the autism spectrum, there’s no way he could've coped in emergency accommodation,” Ms Bailey said.

“We took the children out of school early and moved to Cavan to a family member, who put us up.

“I was studying for my degree and my results in second year suffered because of the stress.

“I was traveling to Dublin constantly for house appointments.  We had to put our things into storage.

“We went camping for one week. We were essentially homeless for six weeks. The children didn’t understand what was going on, so we told them we were on an extended summer holiday.

“I just kept thinking there’s no way my son can go to emergency accommodation, not that any child should ever have to.

“We eventually got lucky through word of mouth and found somewhere else to live in Greenhills, Dublin,” Ms Bailey said.

“The landlord here has been very good but I feel strongly now, action has to happen and quickly for all families in rental homes.

“I’m out canvassing now and I see multiple generations sharing one home. They can’t afford to rent or buy.

“I spoke to three mothers last week who cried on the doorstep. Their grown up children had emigrated due to the rental crisis. They knew their kids weren’t going to be coming back anytime soon.

“There’s an anxiety in my stomach every day wondering when will it happen again.”

In tears Ms Bailey added:  “My son just made a best friend, it’s difficult for him to do that.

“It breaks my heart. I can’t put roots down for my family. I don’t know if they’ll be able to go to a school nearby in future.”

The family’s rent is now more than €2000 a month.

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